Mending and Mindbending

Arguably the best thing about spending a night (or, goddess forbid, more) in the hospital, is that every ordinary privilege of liberty becomes a peak experience for which I am inexpressibly grateful.  For instance, I just realized my second cup of coffee is still waiting for me in the kitchen and must now excuse myself to go pour it over some ice and joyfully recaffeinate.  From Saturday night, where I turned that all-important corner and actually started resting and recuperating, I have had it pretty good.  I caught up with the Glee pilot on Hulu (which of course is the most entertaining thing since Felicity went to the nuthouse), watched a lot of Volume One of Futurama, napped as needed, and even worked a bit on eBay listings and my new secret project.  I could do anything I wanted, just as long as it didn’t involve lifting more than five pounds or exerting myself in any fashion.

The perfect time to wear a jester’s cap is when you are recovering from surgery, particularly if you take pictures.  Anything that makes you laugh is good, just as long as you don’t pop your incisions.  Now that I’m finally on the other side of this unexpected, unwanted, but nonetheless necessary experience, I can see just how completely it has dominated my life and consciousness for the past several weeks.  From the endless trips back and forth to Loyola to the planning and preparations and my inevitable fears of staying overnight in the hospital, the whole package pretty much subsumed all other operations.  It was a relief to finally go in for surgery at 5:30 in the morning on Friday May 22, knowing in a few hours I would wake up in pain and vomiting on my hospital gown, because it put me that much closer to this moment when I can write about it in the past tense.

For the most part no one wants to have surgery or stay overnight in the hospital if they can avoid it, almost as much as no one wants to endure a blow-by-blow description of someone else’s experience.  I’ll therefore try to err on the side of self-restraint, but there are a few things I would like to get off my lightly abraded chest.  I’ve never had to share a room before and didn’t like it, mainly because my roommate’s phone rang and woke me up more than once and her visitors exhausted me.  I’m sure I was not much fun to have around, but under the circumstances I can hardly be blamed.  I understand the convention is to refer to this arrangement as a semi-private room, but when my roommate can hear every word a doctor or nurse says to me about my condition and vice versa, it is also semi-awkward and not really private whatsoever.

My nurses all listened and were quite patient and accommodating, in one case getting orders for much-needed sleep meds and leaving off those annoying leg wraps so I could finally sleep.  With a tight head wrap and an I.V., I had just about as many invasive things happening to my body as I could tolerate.  At least by then they had finally removed the ineffective wound drain that hung uncomfortably from the neck of my gown without doing what it was supposed to, but my afternoon nurse and I had waited throughout her full shift and into the next one before this happened.

When you are unable to so much as focus on a TV program, let alone read or write, the only thing to do is to close your eyes and try to drift the hours away.  Having made it through the night and well into what I hoped would be my last nursing shift, I sat up while the new nurse introduced herself and listened to my breathing.  She remarked that only a nurse would get so excited about hearing healthy lung sounds, then she stepped on over to the other side of the curtain to introduce herself to my roommate:

I’m *****, and I’ll be your nurse. We might as well get to know each other, since we’ll both be here for the long weekend.

There followed a bit of marginally amusing chat in which I joked across the curtain that I didn’t want to go home and miss the party, since I still felt like crap but my liberty was close enough at hand that I had a bit of charity to spare.  I was grateful when the nurse walked out, because I could nod out on my pain meds and lose more time, but I found myself all too awake a moment later when the same nurse walked right past me to my roommate and introduced herself as if she had not done so just a moment before.

I’m *****, and I’ll be your nurse.

My roommate went right along with all this and pretended they’d never met, but I wasn’t sure whose feelings she was sparing.  Had it been me, I don’t think I could have resisted asking the nurse if she didn’t realize we’d already had this conversation.  Since it was not me and since I had mere hours before I could go home, I closed my eyes and tried to drift as far off as I could from my earthly surroundings.


Out of the Mouths of Babes Who Watch Far Too Much Cartoon Network
May 13, 2009, 5:57 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , ,

For Mother’s Day, my spouse and offspring took me out to Best Buy and bought me a new cordless mouse.  This might not sound like a very glamorous gift, but in my current economic state it was almost more excitement than I could handle.  First we went to Marquette Park, where we tossed around a frisbee in the drizzle until it became a downpour.  We were there in the first place not because it was my deepest longing, but because my child had become intrigued with the place, which tells you everything you need to know about how mothers operate.

At Best Buy, I chose a petite Logitech model that nests inside my doll-sized paw like it was born to be there.  On the way out, a store employee asked me if I wanted him to take my picture with my daughter.  I would much rather take pictures of other people than have them take mine, but I hadn’t seen this coming and I saw no graceful way to decline this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.  I muttered something to the effect that we’d been at the park and I must look a mess, but I didn’t even think to check a mirror and survey the damage, because frankly I just wanted to get this awkwardness over with so I could go home and play with my new toy.

We posed beneath an arc of alternating pink and white balloons, then waited endlessly for him to print the image out and press it into a card.  When he handed it to me, I cringed not only because I looked as awkward as I felt, but also because I had a little wing of hair on the left side of my head.  No, not a wing–a horn.  I joked that I should just draw in a horn on the other side to match so it would be symmetrical, which my not-quite-nine-year-old-and-clueless-about-the-facts-of-life offspring thought was pretty funny.

As we reached the car, she piped out “Well Mommy, I guess you’re just a Horny McHornypants.”

The spouse and I exchanged one of those glances that says It is understood that we would both be rolling on the pavement in great spasms of hilarity right now, except that (a) we don’t want to embarrass our daughter, and (b) we don’t want to have to explain why this is so damn funny.

Settling into my seat, I said “Only in Daddy’s dreams,” because that was my line.

The Future Has Arrived
May 5, 2009, 3:39 am
Filed under: Chicago, Music, Pop Culture, Uncategorized

I am heartened by the extent to which Leonard Cohen has been adopted as a beloved cultural icon by my generation, mainly because I think he is one of a divinely sanctioned few who have genuinely earned the title.  Although I had of course heard of him before that, I finally stumbled into his music in spring of 1992 in the midst of an emotional crisis.  His voice and melodies drew me in, but the words and their ever-changing shades of meaning are what have made Leonard Cohen’s songs so enduring.  A perfect example is “Democracy,” which is from 1992 but rings more true in my ears now than it did at the time:

It’s coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It’s here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it’s here they got the spiritual thirst.
It’s here the family’s broken
and it’s here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It’s coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we’ll be making love again.
We’ll be going down so deep
the river’s going to weep,
and the mountain’s going to shout Amen!
It’s coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Of course we cannot be too self-congratulatory, because to hear this song also forces us to recognize that it has taken us seventeen years and a lot of harsh lessons to get to this point.

Not coincidentally, these last few years have also taught Leonard Cohen a few harsh lessons.   Everybody knows he wouldn’t be touring if he didn’t need the money, but that’s how it goes.  Wednesday will be my second time seeing him, as I was lucky enough to catch his Park West show in 1994 (not 1992, as I may have mistakenly written elsewhere).  We had seats near the front and this was his last U. S. tour with Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, so I felt blessed and blissed indeed to be there.  I assumed it had been my one and only chance to see him, but now his fiscal misfortunes have compelled him to give things another whirl.  To see this show is an extravagance we can hardly afford, and I was initially baffled by the mad ticket frenzies that ensued when both Chicago shows went on sale.  Only since then have I really grasped that at least one more generation has wholeheartedly embraced his music since that 1994 tour, and for them it is not only their last chance to see him but also their first.

The great thing about seeing Leonard Cohen perform live is that he knows he is no musican.  He does LC as no one else can, but he also surrounds himself with outstanding musicians who provide a sweetly melodic counterpoint to his time-gravelled tones.  This is why his live albums are uniformly excellent, despite my habitual disdain for the form.  Cohen frequently directs attention to his band during shows in a way that shows he knows how good they are, which makes the whole thing even more of a mutual appreciation society.  The positive energy flows in all directions at a Leonard Cohen show.  The audience appreciates both Leonard and the band, Leonard appreciates the band and the audience, and each band member plays as if they are thrilled to be there and know they have an integral role in the proceedings.  Cohen’s whole approach to performing speaks of a deep respect for the audience, right down to the email reminder I received today that he will take the stage promptly at 8:00.  I appreciate the care and preparation this reflects and will accordingly return this respect by being in my seat at the Chicago Theatre well before showtime on Wednesday May 6, ready to give my full attention to a man who has earned it several times over.

Here’s a clip of “Democracy” from his new live video, filmed in London in 2008.  Leonard may admittedly be a bit more grandfatherly than he was in 1994, but I’d still hit it:

My Electronic Parotidectomy
April 27, 2009, 6:03 pm
Filed under: blogging, Chicago, deafness, hearing disability, Music, Uncategorized

The arrogance of me, ever thinking I know what’s in store.  I was all set for May to be a packed month, as we have a village-wide garage sale here in Evergreen Park next weekend (Saturday May 2, Be There!), and then we have tickets for Leonard Cohen at the Chicago Theatre May 6.  On May 14 and 16 I had volunteered to help document events for Amy Krouse Rosenthal, the second of which would be Chicago’s Beckoning of Lovely event (details here, location TBA).  Later in the month I thought I might try liquidating more junque at the Peoria Flea Market.  Last Thursday when I walked into the Cancer Center I was thinking how glad I was to be in slightly better shape, wondering if I should take up running to fill in the time before the local swim club opens.   Being an old pro at these things, I figured I was in for a biopsy to make sure the funny little bump under my right earlobe was benign.  When I found out I was in for surgery regardless, I passed on the biopsy.  After what I’ve been through, why on earth would I want to get poked any more than I have to?

The good news is that my little bump is still probably benign, but the bad news is that I’m now rearranging what was already a busy schedule to accommodate a surgery (superficial parotidectomy)  that involves peeling back my facial skin and slicing off a mass that just happens to be inconveniently located in close proximity to my right facial nerve.   I have never really thought about my right facial nerve before but all of a sudden I am realizing it is something I would like to keep.  The world of us frequent patients is a surreal one in which even the good doctors toss out phrases like temporary facial paralysis and nerve monitors as if these are normal everyday things you pass every day on your way to the bus stop or throw in your shopping cart at the grocery store.   There may be a slight sunken area at the surgery site, but we’ll try and reconstruct as best we can. I take it all in, leave processing for later.   Overnight stay, general anesthesia, hearing aids out for the surgery.  More IVs, I’m sure.  I’ll need a CT-Scan, an EKG, referrals, plus my doctor’s clearance for the surgery.   More busywork, because clearly I do not already have enough to do.

One of the few fringe benefits of this news is that it gives me an excuse to complain about the abomination that is health insurance in this country.  You might think I don’t have much to complain about, as I have Blue Cross/Blue Shield and almost everything I need is covered.   Of course those without insurance are in much worse shape, and of course there is no valid reason why anyone in this country who needs medical assistance should not have it.  Do I even need to go there?

That large, glaring problem aside, it is so absurdly clear that our whole system of referrals is designed to minimize the expenditures of insurance companies at the expense of patients.  All my doctors are at one institution, Loyola.  When my oncologist refers me to the ENT guy that information goes into my record, just as it does when the ENT guy orders a CT-Scan.  A doctor in your system said I had to have this, what more damn hell kind of referral do I need? I am contemplating unexpected surgery, struggling to manage all the tests and coordinate everything that needs to be done without completely sacrificing events I’ve looked forward to for months, so obviously there is nothing better I could do with my time than to sit on hold with my doctor’s office so I can tell them information that could all be conveyed electronically between medical personnel without any need for my participation.

Absurd as all of this may be, we are conditioned to do it because of course we don’t want to pay those bills.  I was reminded of this recently when I got a bill for well over $20000 and realized I had forgotten to call in the referral for my quarterly Zoladex injection.   I’ve been getting this injection every three months for a few years now and my primary care physician obviously approves of this or she would not have signed off on umpteen referrals.  Blue Cross/Blue Shield knows very well these injections are a regular part of my follow-up  treatment for breast cancer and they could easily confirm this, but they reject the claim and I get billed.   The primary concern here should be what is necessary for my treatment, not whether I remember to jump through the correct sequence of hoops, but a bill for $2500 is the kind of Gotcha! I can’t argue with, so I’m on the phone again.

The more I research this surgery, the more I understand I will not know what I am up against until it’s over.  Having placed myself in the hands of capable surgeons and anesthesiologists a few times too many, I don’t fret about the surgery itself.   I find the best way to go into these things is to collaborate as much as possible with the people who are kindly trying to save my sorry ass.  There inevitably will be some negotiations over hearing aids, more daunting this time because my surgery will be above my neck and involve my right ear.  Put that together with the likelihood of some facial paralysis on my right side and you have the makings of a communication fiasco, but I’ll find a way to make my needs known even if I have to wink in Morse code.

Speaking of winking or the inability to do same, my biggest concern about recovery is that some people find themselves unable to close the eye on the surgery side for some time after the operation.  I am not so nervous about drooping or talking funny as I am about having my vision interfered with, particularly with a hearing disadvantage.  I am also upset that I’ll have to keep the sun off my scar, as I’ve been so looking forward to swimming as one of the few fringe benefits of summer.  There are just so many variables, so many things that are undetermined until I am on the other side of this surgery, but at least there will be vicodin.

Some folks near and dear to me expressed surprise that I would delay this extravaganza, but I am bound and determined to have that Leonard Cohen show under my belt before I go under the knife.  Lenny and I, we have both taken a few bumps and bruises along the path to enlightenment, but we still keep seeking and singing because the alternative is unthinkable.  If by some chance I have cancer, I’ve been there and done that and I’m still here disturbing the shit five years later.  I could theoretically have cancer and a Leonard Cohen show or cancer and no Leonard Cohen show, so which of those sounds better?  Duh.

I may not be here much or I may feel the need to post more than usual, but either way I’m thinking I’ll be fine.  The sweet selfishness of this space dictates that it will be here if I need it and will wait patiently if I’m out of commission, but I always scuttle back to my lair because it feels like home.  Feel free to send good thoughts, because I’ll need a few.  If you have an irresistible compulsion to send chocolate I won’t object, but I think I need the good vibes more.  The best thing about having thus far survived breast cancer and chemo is that almost everything else seems like a walk in the park by comparison.  I may be as patched-up as my daughter’s teddy bear, with odd seams and depressions everywhere you look, but we both persevere, because we have a purpose.

Dancing With the Nobodies
April 13, 2009, 5:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags:

Watching über-mumsy Susan Boyle leave judges and audience alike completely gobsmacked on Britain’s Got Talent, I remembered my idea for a summer replacement for Dancing With the Stars.  It would be called Dancing With the Nobodies (copyright © 2009 Dena Tarlin), and in my version the professional dancers would be the stars and their partners would be regular folks like you and me.  There would of course be a broad spectrum of contestants, one of the broadest of which I am proposing should be yours truly.  Not only do I have a story to tell, but I can shake it like a polar0id picture.  The most daunting challenges would be trying to coordinate myself with a partner and trying to boogie in high heels, but at my height I’m but a short plunge to the floor.

Moreover, I want dibs on the first season of my show because it is mine and belongs to me.  I call Maksim for my partner, too, because I am the big cheese and what I say goes.


Make no mistake about it girls and boys, this manly hunk of  manhood is all mine.

Speaking of things that are all mine like the idea for this show, let’s return to Susan Boyle for a moment.  In fact, let’s watch the clip (embedding is disabled, but just click the linkie).  People love an underdog, which is why I would be the perfect contestant for Dancing With the Nobodies ©.  I was a hometown reject who went on to make something of herself in the big city, and not only do I wear hearing aids in both ears, but I’m also a breast cancer survivor.  There is also a recession angle, as I went back to school and got a Masters in Library and Information Science after I finished my cancer treatment but I now can’t find a job and am struggling to make ends meet.  I take care of my daughter, sell books on eBay, do a bit of freelance proofreading on the side, and come up with absurd concepts that just may be fricking brilliant.

And as long as we are talking about things that are fricking brilliant, let’s not forget Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Beckoning of Lovely project.   As a Supremely Excellent Judge (Chicago-based Panel), I would present yet another angle to be exploited for publicity.  This project will presumably be ongoing for some time and will eventually result in a feature film.  The possibilities for cross-promotion between the two projects could only enhance both efforts, don’t you think?

All of the above is well and good, but they do not in themselves justify my participation.  The main reason why I think I would kick ass on Dancing With the Nobodies © is that I am a bit of a savant when it comes to dancing.  I have never taken lessons because I’m a bit afraid of it, but I’ve found the best way to handle these fears and apprehensions is to roll up one’s sleeves and plunge right in.  As a drummer’s daughter, I have always had a natural sense of rhythm and can move to any music.  My pins also look nice in high heels, although I could stand to lose a few pounds.  Come to think of it, the show might help me with that as well.

I don’t know if Dancing With the Nobodies © will be picked up, but I think folks would watch this show for the same reason they are scrambling to post and watch Susan Boyle on YouTube as fast as the copyright holders can pull the clip.  As much as the celebrities brave enough to appear on Dancing With the Stars are challenged to learn a new skill and exhibit grace under pressure, they mostly have to do that sort of thing every day.   To see “nobodies” like yours truly undergo the same challenges and triumphs would make truly riveting TV.  So much so that I would probably still watch the show if I wasn’t on it, preferably whilst counting the money I would make for my idea that is mine, sitting in a house where water is not dripping on my head from a leaky ceiling.

As for Susan Boyle, I hope she wins the whole shebang and leaves all those who laughed at her dreams in the dust, because she’s awesome.   Anyone who can make Simon Cowell smile like that has my official seal of approval, and so it is.

To All My Frieeeends

Back in the days before Mickey Rourke’s face got really scary he made a great movie called Barfly, directed by Barbet Schroeder.  My favorite scene is the one where Henry Chinaski (standing in for Charles Bukowski) buys round after round of drinks for his friends:

I would like to do the same, but my friends are all spread out and it’s hard to get them in one place.  I have fantasies of throwing a big party and flying them in from all over the world for a gathering like the one in the movie, in which case I can only hope I have two men fighting over me like Henry did the ladies.  I am feeling even more celebratory than usual this year, because my friends have been up to all kinds of creative mischief.  Everywhere I look, they are blogging, publishing books and spooksmodeling, recording, touring, making videos, and just generally doing all kinds of cool stuff.  Needless to say, I am impressed, inspired and delighted to be hooked up with such a bunch of groovy go-getters.  Since for now we cannot all raise a glass together, this post will have to do and will at least not leave us indisposed and toothless in the morning.  Feel free to get smashed and wake up in a stranger’s bed tomorrow morning if it puts you in the spirit, but don’t tell your wife or dentist it was my idea.


First and arguably foremost simply because there are votes involved, Nora O’Sullivan is one of thirteen contestants vying to be Fangoria’s 2010 Spooksmodel.  She will be flying to Los Angeles for their big Weekend of Horrors from April 17-19, so if you helped vote her there on my behest, I thank you.  But we aren’t quite done, because now she’s in it for the win.   I need you to CLICKY HERE and cast your vote, which in this case requires you to register with your email address.  After that, they will send you an email, you confirm, and you’re all done.  If you want to be extra-kind, you can send the link on to a few friends and ask them to do the same.  Voting ends at midnight Friday April 17, so don’t wait forever.

You can see from the pic that Nora is lovely and vivacious, but what you cannot see is that she is a talented makeup artist, smart and friendly and industrious as all get out.  Once upon a time I was afraid of teenagers, but thanks to Nora and a few others of her ilk, I am cured.  I would like to see her win this contest, because so many teenagers are out there huffing, tipping cows and getting pregnant while this fine, upstanding citizen who is active in her local zombie community goes unrewarded.   End this madness with your vote and win my eternal gratitude.  Thanks!!

Nora isn’t the only O’Sullivan who’s been busy, though, as her dad Joe was recently published in the Spring 2009 issue of Farmhouse Magazine.  His story, My Day With Antonia, not only appears on the Farmhouse Web site, but also appears in the actual print publication.  I’ve known Joe for about 25 years, but not until he started blogging at the Sprawling Ramshackle Compound did I discover what a damn fine writer he is.   Joe also had a (very) short story published on Six Sentences.  Called Every Rose’s Thorn, it actually garnered more comments and ratings than Neil LaBute’s submission!  It is good to have friends, no doubt about it, and Joe gathers them more effortlessly than anyone I’ve ever known.  I’m intrigued to see what else he’ll come up with, as he keeps surprising me.


Another friend of mine currently experiencing a creative renaissance is the lovely and talented Marianne S., who not only posts something on her blog Diarrhea Island EVERY SINGLE FLIPPING DAY and has been doing so for over a year, but also has recorded two musical numbers (one original and one Led Zep cover) and made YouTube videos for them.  All of this while parenting not one but THREE kids ranging from six to seventeen.   Her secret weapons are naps, caffeine, ruthless efficiency, and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope.  No, not that last one.

Marianne’s first recording and video was If I Were Zooey Deschanel, a tuneful and gigglesome lo-fi macbook recording.  It impressed me quite a bit that my friend had written a song, recorded it, and made a video.  iMovie may be relatively intuitive to use, but GarageBand is a bitch and I miserably failed when I tried to use it for a class assignment.  Hats off to Marianne, because she not only managed to accomplish all these things, but she did them well enough that I looked forward to seeing what frothy creative efforts she might whip up next.  I done embedded it already, but if you missed it, by all means do click on the link above.

A little-known fact is that if you do a YouTube search for “marianne fish,” your top result will be this obscure gem:

Marianne’s rousing, Kinks-driven take on “Gimme That Fish” followed close on the heels of “Zooey Deschanel,” so close that I was shocked–shocked, I tell you–when soon after she released an mp3 cover of Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks.”  This techno version featured layered vocals that sounded like they took a lot of work to create.  I was impressed enough at this point, but then M followed right up with a video that knocked my socks off.  Now my little tootsies are cold, and it is all her fault, but I will forgive her because this is officially funny stuff:

Moving down the Pacific coastline a few miles, we find my old friend Jon Ginoli has been busy as well.  He has been talking about his book for years and it is finally out!  Called Deflowered: My Life in Pansy Division, it is currently available from Amazon at a discounted price of $11.53 and is worth every penny.


Jon has referred to Deflowered as being probably the only book he will ever write.  He may or may not be correct about that, but for sure he is the only one who could tell this story.   I will have more to say about this book later, but I have enjoyed not only learning more about the bits I missed (including more than a few naughty ones), but also being able to line up Jon’s experiences with what I was doing at a given time.  Since in my case this involved school, work, and baby, the split-screen would show vastly different experiences on either side.  Vive la difference, I say, because Jon has some very entertaining stories to tell.

The quality I have always admired most about Jon is the DIY-drive and tenacity that not only gestated and built Pansy Division to a point where they had both the chops and reputation to tour with Green Day, but also has kept the band alive through many changes and upheavals.   Continuing in this vein, he has quit his job of ten years and embarked on a massive book tour, which continues through May and beyond.  Please go see him and buy a few books, and if you mention you heard about about his presentation here at Linkadelica, he might feel obligated to buy me lunch!  Yee-haw!!

If by some chance you are in the Chicago area, Jon will be here this week and has three separate appearances scheduled.  The first will be tomorrow, Tuesday April 7, at Homolatte.  Homolatte is a Big Chicks/Tweet, at 5024 N. Sheridan, and admission is free!  They do pass the hat for the performers, so I suggest you do throw in a few bucks.  This self-described bi-monthly all-ages queer music and spoken-word series recently was given accolades as one of Chicago’s Best by the Chicago Reader, so I’m guessing they’ll be packed for Jon.  If you want to see him play an acoustic set as well as reading from the book, this is probably the appearance you should attend.  Wednesday April 8 he’ll be at Quimby’s, a venue I am proud to say I suggested and at which I’ll be in attendance.  I defy anyone to walk out of that place without spending money.  For those who will be in or around Lincoln Park that day, Jon also reads at Borders at 2817 N. Clark Street on Thursday April 9.

That’s not all for Jon, who also has a new Pansy Division album out called That’s So Gay.  It’s their first in six years and I would have heard it by now if it was on eMusic.  I have high hopes, as thus far the band has just kept getting better as they’ve matured.  Pansy Division are also rumored to be touring later this year, although dates have yet to be announced.

I could not in all fairness refer to Amy Krouse Rosenthal as my friend, but I would be amiss if I didn’t say a few words here about her book tour and The Beckoning of Lovely.  Most of what you need to know can be found on this site, which will be relaunched soon with a thematic look and feel.  The short version of a long story is that Amy wants to make a feature film about all things lovely and toward that end has solicited several hundred submissions and enlisted a few hundred strangers to collaborate on the final product.  See, I told you it was hard to explain.  Amy has been traveling around the country making appearances on her book tour and also doing official Beckoning of Lovely gatherings, some of which may appear in the film.  She is also looking for opening acts, although I don’t know which dates have already been filled.  The Chicago Beckoning of Lovely event is scheduled for Saturday May 15 from 5:00 to 6:00 PM, although the location has yet to be announced.

I am honored to be working on the Beckoning of Lovely project, as I was one of eleven people chosen to serve on the Chicago-Based Panel of Supremely Excellent Judges.  Although my actual judging duties are over, I will be helping to document the above event and at least one other Chicago-area appearance.  I am also looking forward to more loveliness later this year, about which I shall remain mum for the time being.  I also participated in Simultaneous Mass Existence and would like to do more things of this nature, so we’ll see what comes of that.

I don’t know what else you should expect from me this year, but I do have a few surprises up my sleeve.  One of the best things about having busy friends is that it challenges and inspires me to get off my duff and do things, although I don’t think I’ll be recording any music soon.  I feel energized that all these good things are happening to my friends in the year 2009, a year in which I shall turn 50 on 09-09-1959 and on which my only offspring turns 09.  You can expect me to launch a small but amusing project of my own on my birthday, but in the meantime I’ll keep beckoning the lovely, blogging here and posting at my tumblelog, Herr Machine, and hawking the usual fab assortment of books and t-shirts in my eBay store.

One of the benefits of getting older is that I can now appreciate exactly how lucky I am to have such a creative and productive group of friends.  Many of us have been late bloomers or are currently experiencing a creative renaissance of some sort, which is the most life-affirming way I know to respond to the inevitability of that final taxi for which there can only be one destination.  They should hurry up and find a way to reverse the aging process so we can all just keep getting better until we are so awesome it is sick, because, well, because it would be far preferable to the alternative.  I never cease to be amazed at the things my friends and I are capable of accomplishing, thank goodness.  I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I cannot wait to find out what comes next.  I hereby raise my glass to all my friends, with an extra shot for Marianne S. on her birthday.

My Eyes Adorn You
April 3, 2009, 5:03 pm
Filed under: blogging, Uncategorized

If you visit this joint on any kind of regular basis, you may have noticed I’ve done a bit of remodeling.  I’m a creature of habit myself and I knew these things can be traumatic, so I hope I didn’t upset anybody’s apple cart.  The other night as I was posting, I realized how tired I was of looking at my text all cramped up in those teensy little columns, so I thought I would try out a few new themes just to see how they looked on me.  When I tried on Benevolence, I instantly knew I could never go back.  I actually feel as if I’ve been holding my breath to fit into the old space, but now I can breathe freely.

Things are somewhat in flux now, as I really need to update my Pages and remodel that left sidebar to get this new space in order.  Pardon my dust in the meantime, and, as always, thanks for stopping by.